India court orders rape victim’s baby exhumed for test

NEW DELHI: An Indian court has ordered the exhumation of the remains of a baby born to a teenage rape survivor so that a paternity test can be conducted, police said yesterday. The ruling came after the teenage mother withdrew an allegation of rape against a Delhi businessman. Police say the teenager is aged between 14 and 15 and had initially accused the man of raping her repeatedly when she visited the capital New Delhi in February. She gave birth to a baby girl in October, but the child died a few days later. Police arrested the suspect in July and charged him with raping a minor. It is not unusual for victims to withdraw allegations of rape in India, often under pressure from friends or family of the defendant, or in return for a financial settlement.

“The court has issued the orders but we are yet to get a copy,” an investigating officer told AFP on condition of anonymity yesterday. “We will exhume the body as per the order for conducting DNA tests.” India has a grim record of sexual assaults on minors with over 36,000 cases of rape or sexual assaults reported in 2016, according to government data. A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said one in three rape victims in India was a minor and expressed alarm at the widespread sexual abuse of children. In November, a court in northern India convicted two men for repeatedly raping their 10-year-old niece. She became pregnant and DNA samples from the baby were used to convict one of the uncles.- AFP

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